Author Topic: Early Church Fathers  (Read 146252 times)

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #495 on: November 28, 2017, 01:55:10 PM »
Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood, and being attached to one another, joined together in the truth, exhibiting the meekness of the Lord in your intercourse with one another, and despising no one. When you can do good, defer it not, because alms delivers from death. (Tobit 4:10) Be all of you subject one to another "having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles" (1 Peter 2:12) that you may both receive praise for your good works, and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed! Teach, therefore, sobriety to all, and manifest it also in your own conduct.

-- St. Polycarp of Smyrna (d. 156), Epistle to the Philippians, 10

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #496 on: November 28, 2017, 05:08:55 PM »
I know also a fire which is not cleansing, but avenging; either that fire of Sodom which He pours down on all sinners, mingled with brimstone and storms, or that which is prepared for the Devil and his Angels, or that which proceeds from the face of the Lord, and shall burn up his enemies round about; and one even more fearful still than these, the unquenchable fire which is ranged with the worm that dies not but is eternal for the wicked. For all these belong to the destroying power; though some may prefer even in this place to take a more merciful view of this fire, worthily of Him That chastises.

-- St. Gregory the Theologian (d. 390), Oration 40.36

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #497 on: November 28, 2017, 05:17:50 PM »
I guess he's talking about St. Gregory of Nyssa there at the end.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #498 on: November 28, 2017, 05:32:07 PM »
This is who St. Maximus thought of as well:

Quote
And the fire "which proceeds before the face of the Lord" burning "his enemies" is the energies (energiai) of God. For they characterize the face of God, that is, his goodness, love of humankind, meekness, and things similar to these. These energies enlighten those who are like them and burn up those who oppose and have been alienated from the likeness. And the passage did not say these, the forms of fire, are eternal, since according to Gregory of Nyssa nature must recover its own powers and be restored by full knowledge (epignosei) to what it was from the beginning, so that the Creator may be proven not to be the cause of sin.

-- St. Maximus the Confessor, Questions and Doubts, 99

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #499 on: November 29, 2017, 03:06:15 PM »
When you pray as you should, thoughts will come to you which make you feel that you have a real right to be angry. But anger with your neighbor is never right. If you search you will find that things can always be arranged without anger. So do all you can not to break out into anger

-- Evagrius Ponticus (d. 399), On Prayer: One Hundred and Fifty-Three Texts, 24 (Philokalia, v. 1, p. 59)

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #500 on: November 30, 2017, 04:36:11 AM »
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful, composed by the Spirit for this reason, namely, that we men, each and all of us, as if in a general hospital for souls, may select the remedy for his own condition. For, it says, 'care will make the greatest sin to cease.' (Eccl. 10:4)  Now, the prophets teach one thing, historians another, the law something else, and the form of advice found in the proverbs something different still. But, the Book of Psalms has taken over what is profitable from all. It foretells coming events; it recalls history; it frames laws for life; it suggests what must be done; and, in general, it is the common treasury of good doctrine, carefully finding what is suitable for each one. The old wounds of souls it cures completely, and to the recently wounded it brings speedy improvement; the diseased it treats, and the unharmed it preserves. On the whole, it effaces, as far as possible, the passions, which subtly exercise dominion over souls during the lifetime of man, and it does this with a certainly orderly persuasion and sweetness which produces sound thoughts.

-- St. Basil the Great (d. 379), Exegetical Homilies: Homily 10

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #501 on: December 01, 2017, 08:04:30 AM »
Q. ...and what do the robbers and the breaking of their legs signify? (Jn. 19:32)

A. ...And the robbers are understood as our nature being divided between the just and sinful. The breaking of the legs signifies that you find that no one ides without faults and [everyone] is crushed by sin, but only the Lord died intact and without any sin.

-- St. Maximos the Confessor (d. 662), Questions and Doubts, 118

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #502 on: December 02, 2017, 05:17:46 PM »
Therefore you ought to strive to the utmost of your power not to fall into a base or dishonourable, not to say an absolutely flagitious way of thinking, lest the name of Christ be thus blasphemed even by you. Be it far from you that you should sell the privilege of access to the emperor to any one for money, or that you should by any means place a dishonest account of any affair before your prince, won over either by prayers or by bribes. Let all the lust of avarice be put from you, which serves the cause of idolatry rather than the religion of Christ. No filthy lucre, no duplicity, can befit the Christian who embraces the simple and unadorned Christ. Let no scurrilous or base talk have place among you. Let all things be done with modesty, courteousness, affability, and uprightness, so that the name of our God and Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in all. Discharge the official duties to which you are severally appointed with the utmost fear of God and affection to your prince, and perfect carefulness. Consider that every command of the emperor which does not offend God has proceeded from God Himself; and execute it in love as well as in fear, and with all cheerfulness.

-- (St.?) Theonas of Alexandria (d. 300), Epistle to Lucianus, 2


And do thou, my dearest Lucianus, since thou art wise, bear with good-will the unwise; and they too may perchance become wise. Do no one an injury at any time, and provoke no one to anger. If an injury is done to you, look to Jesus Christ; and even as ye desire that He may remit your transgressions, do ye also forgive them theirs; and then also shall ye do away with all ill-will, and bruise the head of that ancient serpent, who is ever on the watch with all subtlety to undo your good works and your prosperous attainments. Let no day pass by without reading some portion of the Sacred Scriptures, at such convenient hour as offers, and giving some space to meditation. And never cast off the habit of reading in the Holy Scriptures; for nothing feeds the soul and enriches the mind so well as those sacred studies do. But look to this as the chief gain you are to make by them, that, in all due patience, ye may discharge the duties of your office religiously and piously—that is, in the love of Christ—and despise all transitory objects for the sake of His eternal promises, which in truth surpass all human comprehension and understanding, and shall conduct you into everlasting felicity.

-- (St.?) Theonas of Alexandria (d. 300), Epistle to Lucianus, 9

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #503 on: December 04, 2017, 10:09:13 PM »
For the patience of Job did not bring any gain to the devil, through making him a better man by his temptations, but only to Job himself who endured them bravely; nor was Judas granted freedom from eternal punishment, because his act of betrayal contributed to the salvation of mankind. For we must not regard the result of the deed, but the purpose of the doer. Wherefore we should always cling to this assertion; viz., that evil cannot be brought upon a man by another, unless a man has admitted it by his sloth or feebleness of heart: as the blessed Apostle confirms this opinion of ours in a verse of Scripture: “But we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” (Rom. 8:28) But by saying “All things work together for good,” he includes everything alike, not only things fortunate, but also those which seem to be misfortunes: through which the Apostle tells us in another place that he himself has passed, when he says: “By the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,” i.e., “Through honour and dishonour, through evil report and good report, as deceivers and yet true, as sorrowful but always rejoicing, as needy and yet enriching many” (2 Cor. 6:7-10)

-- St. John Cassian (d. 435), Conferences, 6.9

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #504 on: December 04, 2017, 10:44:32 PM »
“The kingdom of heaven is within you” (Luke 17:21)  Wherefore virtue hath need at our hands of willingness alone, since it is in us and is formed from us. For when the soul hath its spiritual faculty in a natural state virtue is formed. And it is in a natural state when it remains as it came into existence. And when it came into existence it was fair and exceeding honest. For this cause Joshua, the son of Nun, in his exhortation said to the people, “Make straight your heart unto the Lord God of Israel,” (Jos. 24:23) “Make your paths straight,” (Matt. 3:3) For rectitude of soul consists in its having its spiritual part in its natural state as created. But on the other hand, when it swerves and turns away from its natural state, that is called vice of the soul. Thus the matter is not difficult. If we abide as we have been made, we are in a state of virtue, but if we think of ignoble things we shall be accounted evil.

-- St. Anthony (d. 356), quoted in: St. Athanasius, Life on Anthony, 19-20

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #505 on: December 06, 2017, 08:28:31 PM »
"So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." (Rom. 8:8) What then? Are we, it will be said, to cut our bodies in pieces to please God, and to make our escape from the flesh? And would you have us be homicides, and so lead us to virtue? You see what inconsistencies are gendered by taking the words literally. For by the flesh in this passage, he does not mean the body, or the essence of the body, but that life which is fleshly and worldly, and uses self-indulgence and extravagance to the full, so making the entire man flesh. For as they that have the wings of the Spirit, make the body also spiritual, so do they who bound off from this, and are the slaves of the belly, and of pleasure, make the soul also flesh, not that they change the essence of it, but that they mar its noble birth. And this mode of speaking is to be met with in many parts of the Old Testament also, to signify by flesh the gross and earthly life, which is entangled in pleasures that are not convenient. For to Noah He says, "My Spirit shall not always make its abode in these men, because they are flesh." (Gen. 6:3 LXX) And yet Noah was himself also compassed about with flesh. But this is not the complaint, the being compassed about with the flesh, for this is so by nature, but the having chosen a carnal life. Wherefore also Paul says, "But they that are in the flesh cannot please God."

-- St. John Chrysostom (d. 407), Homily 13 on Romans
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 08:29:27 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #506 on: December 07, 2017, 10:11:20 PM »
The Holy Virgin is herself both an honourable temple of God and a shrine made pure, and a golden altar of whole burnt offerings. By reason of her surpassing purity [she is] the Divine incense of oblation, and oil of the holy grace, and a precious vase bearing in itself the true nard; [yea and] the priestly diadem revealing the good pleasure of God, whom she alone approacheth holy in body and soul. [She is] the door which looks eastward, and by the comings in and goings forth the whole earth is illuminated. The fertile olive from which the Holy Spirit took the fleshly slip (or twig) of the Lord, and saved the suffering race of men. She is the boast of virgins, and the joy of mothers; the declaration of archangels, even as it was spoken: "Be thou glad and rejoice, the Lord with thee"; and again, "from thee"; in order that He may make new once more the dead through sin.

-- St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (d. 270), Homily Concerning the Holy Mother of God, 13

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #507 on: December 08, 2017, 09:05:57 PM »
Seeing, therefore, that men who agree not amongst themselves have all alike conspired against the Church of God, I shall call those whom I have to answer by the common name of heretics. For heresy, like some hydra of fable, hath waxed great from its wounds, and, being ofttimes lopped short, hath grown afresh, being appointed to find meet destruction in flames of fire. Or, like some dread and monstrous Scylla, divided into many shapes of unbelief, she displays, as a mask to her guile, the pretence of being a Christian sect, but those wretched men whom she finds tossed to and fro in the waves of her unhallowed strait, amid the wreckage of their faith, she, girt with beastly monsters, rends with the cruel fang of her blasphemous doctrine. This monster’s cavern, your sacred Majesty, thick laid, as seafaring men do say it is, with hidden lairs, and all the neighbourhood thereof, where the rocks of unbelief echo to the howling of her black dogs, we must pass by with ears in a manner stopped. For it is written: “Hedge thine ears about with thorns;” (Sir. 28:24) and again: “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers;” (Phil. 3:2) and yet again: “A man that is an heretic, avoid after the first reproof, knowing that such an one is fallen, and is in sin, being condemned of his own judgment.” (Tit. 3:10-11) So then, like prudent pilots, let us set the sails of our faith for the course wherein we may pass by most safely, and again follow the coasts of the Scriptures.

-- St. Ambrose of Milan (d. 397), Exposition of the Christian Faith, 1.6

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #508 on: December 09, 2017, 10:42:52 PM »
Q. Since in [the text of] St. Diadochus, in the 100th chapter, it has been written, "some will be judged through fires and purified in the future age," I ask [that] the father's aim [St. Diadochus] be revealed to me by clarification.

A. They who have acquired the perfection of love for God and have elevated the wing of the soul through the virtues, according to the Apostle "are caught up in the clouds" and do not come into judgment. And they who did not completely acquire perfection but have acquired both sins and good works, come into the court of judgment; there, they are scorched as by a fire by the comparison of their good and evil deeds, and if, in fact, the scale of their good deeds weighs downwards, they are cleansed of punishment.

-- St. Maximos the Confessor (d. 662), Questions and Doubts, I.10

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #509 on: December 10, 2017, 01:35:10 PM »
Therefore many of the things, which are done without reproach by the middle Rank, are forbidden in every way to the single Monks, inasmuch as they are under obligation to be unified to the One, and to be collected to a sacred Monad, and to be transformed to the sacerdotal life, as far as lawful, as possessing an affinity to it in many things, and as being nearer to it than the other Ranks of the initiated. Now the sealing with the sign of the Cross, as we have already said, denotes the inaction of almost all the desires of the flesh. And the cropping of the hair shews the pure and unpretentious life, which does not beautify the darkness within the mind, by overlarding it with smeared pretence, but that it by itself is being led, not by human attractions but by single and monastic, to the highest likeness of God.

-- Dionysius the Areopagite (d. 6th century?), Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, 6.3.3

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #510 on: February 06, 2018, 03:22:03 PM »
If, then, those who were conversant with the ancient Scriptures came to newness of hope, expecting the coming of Christ, as the Lord teaches us when He says, “If ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me;” and again, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad; for before Abraham was, I am;” how shall we be able to live without Him? The prophets were His servants, and foresaw Him by the Spirit, and waited for Him as their Teacher, and expected Him as their Lord and Saviour, saying, “He will come and save us.”

Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner, and rejoice in days of idleness; for “he that does not work, let him not eat.” For say the [holy] oracles "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread.” But let every one of you keep the Sabbath after a spiritual manner, rejoicing in meditation on the law, not in relaxation of the body, admiring the workmanship of God, and not eating things prepared the day before, nor using lukewarm drinks, and walking within a prescribed space, nor finding delight in dancing and plaudits which have no sense in them.

And after the observance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days [of the week]. Looking forward to this, the prophet declared, “To the end, for the eighth day,” on which our life both sprang up again, and the victory over death was obtained in Christ, whom the children of perdition, the enemies of the Saviour, deny, “whose god is their belly, who mind earthly things,” who are “lovers of pleasure, and not lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” These make merchandise of Christ, corrupting His word, and giving up Jesus to sale: they are corrupters of women and covetous of other men’s possessions, swallowing up wealth insatiably; from whom may ye be delivered by the mercy of God through our Lord Jesus Christ!

-- St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians, Chapter 9
"Verily they that seek Thee, Lord, and keep the canons of Thy Holy Church shall never want any good thing.”
St. John the Merciful

"This is the one from the beginning, who seemed to be new, yet was found to be ancient and always young, being born in the hearts of the saints."
Letter to Diognetus 11.4

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #511 on: February 13, 2018, 02:06:29 AM »
And yet, will we ever come to an end of discussion and talk if we think we must always reply to replies?

--St. Augustine, City of God
"Verily they that seek Thee, Lord, and keep the canons of Thy Holy Church shall never want any good thing.”
St. John the Merciful

"This is the one from the beginning, who seemed to be new, yet was found to be ancient and always young, being born in the hearts of the saints."
Letter to Diognetus 11.4

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #512 on: February 20, 2018, 01:20:28 PM »
After an interval of some years from the death of Nero, there arose another tyrant no less wicked (Domitian), who, although his government   was exceedingly odious, for a very long time oppressed his subjects,   and reigned in security, until at length he stretched forth his impious   hands against the Lord. Having been instigated by evil demons to   persecute the righteous people, he was then delivered into the power of his enemies, and suffered due punishment. To be murdered in his own   palace was not vengeance ample enough: the very memory of his name was   erased. For although he had erected many admirable edifices, and rebuilt the Capitol, and left other distinguished marks of his   magnificence, yet the senate did so persecute his name, as to leave no   remains of his statues, or traces of the inscriptions put up in honour of him; and by most solemn and severe decrees it branded him, even after death, with perpetual infamy. Thus, the commands of the tyrant having been rescinded, the Church was not only restored to her former state, but she shone forth with additional splendour, and became more   and more flourishing. And in the times that followed, while many   well-deserving princes guided the helm of the Roman empire, the Church   suffered no violent assaults from her enemies, and she extended her hands unto the east and unto the west, insomuch that now there was not   any the most remote corner of the earth to which the divine religion had not penetrated, or any nation of manners so barbarous that did not,   by being converted to the worship of God, become mild and gentle.c

-- Lactantius (d. 320), Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died, 3

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #513 on: February 20, 2018, 10:49:54 PM »
So then, my son, let whoever reads this Book of Psalms take the things in it quite simply as God-inspired; and let each select from it, as from the fruits of a garden, those things of which he sees himself in need. For I think that in the words of this book all human life is covered, with all its states and thoughts, and that nothing further can be found in man. For no matter what you seek, whether it be repentance and confession, or help in trouble and temptation or under persecution, whether you have been set free from plots and snares or, on the contrary, are sad for any reason, or whether, seeing yourself progressing and your enemy cast down, you want to praise and thank and bless the Lord, each of these things the Divine Psalms show you how to do, and in every case the words you want are written down for you, and you can say them as your own.

-- St. Athanasius (d. 373), Letter to Marcellinus On the Interpretation of the Psalms

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #514 on: February 23, 2018, 02:58:07 AM »
For it is not the body that masters the soul, but it is the soul that masters the body. Nor is the soul contained in the body, as if in a vessel, or bag. It might rather be said that the body is in the soul. For we must not think of intelligibles as liable to meet resistance from bodies. We should think of them as extending through the whole body, as though they ranged over them, or pervaded them. They must not, on the other hand, be supposed confined to some portion of space... Therefore, if the soul is said to be in a body, it is not so said in the sense of being located in a body, but rather as being in habitual relation of presence there, even as God is said to be in us. For we may say that the soul is bound by habit to the body, or by an inclination or disposition towards it, just as we say that a lover is bound to his beloved, not meaning physically, or spatially, but habitually. For the soul is a thing that has neither size, bulk, or parts, transcending particular and local circumscription.

-- Bp. Nemesius of Emesa (4th century), On the Nature of Man, 3

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #515 on: February 23, 2018, 10:22:13 PM »
But the Christians, O King, while they went about and made search, have found the truth; and as we learned from their writings, they have come nearer to truth and genuine knowledge than the rest of the nations. For they know and trust in God, the Creator of heaven and of earth, in whom and from whom are all things, to whom there is no other god as companion, from whom they received commandments which they engraved upon their minds and observe in hope and expectation of the world which is to come...

And their oppressors they appease (lit: comfort) and make them their friends; they do good to their enemies... Further, if one or other of them have bondmen and bondwomen or children, through love towards them they persuade them to become Christians, and when they have done so, they call them brethren without distinction... and they love one another, and from widows they do not turn away their esteem; and they deliver the orphan from him who treats him harshly. And he, who has, gives to him who has not, without boasting.

And when they see a stranger, they take him in to their homes and. rejoice over him as a very brother; for they do not call them brethren after the flesh, but brethren after the spirit and in God. And whenever one of their poor passes from the world, each one of them according to his ability gives heed to him and carefully sees to his burial. And if they hear that one of their number is imprisoned or  afflicted on account of the name of their Messiah, all of them anxiously minister to his necessity, and if it is possible to redeem him they set him free. And if there is among them any that is poor and needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food.

And if any righteous man among them passes from the world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God; and they escort his body as if he were setting out from one place to another near. And when a child has been born to one of them, they give thanks to God; and if moreover it happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for one who has passed through the world without sins. And further if they see that any one of them dies in his ungodliness or in his sins, for him they grieve bitterly, and sorrow as for one who goes to meet his doom.

-- St. Aristides the Philosopher (2nd century), Apology, 15

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #516 on: February 23, 2018, 10:25:26 PM »
So, I guess St. Aristides didn't know anything about infant baptism? It almost sounds like he believed in an idea of "age of accountability."
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #517 on: February 23, 2018, 11:02:46 PM »
I'm not sure what can be taken with certainty, doctrinally or practically, from his apology, but it does seem like an interesting witness.

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #518 on: February 26, 2018, 04:51:20 PM »
The present time has brought us a great abundance of naked and homeless. A host of prisoners stands before the door of everyone. And the stranger, the immigrant, is not absent, and everywhere you see extended the hand that begs. To these, home is the outdoors. Havens the stoas, and the crossroads, and the most deserted parts of the agora. Like the night birds and the owls they nest in holes. Their clothes are patched rags; produce is the good intentions of the merciful; food, whatever falls from the passerby; drink, just what the town fountain is for the animals; and cup, the hollow of their hands; treasure, their pocket, when it doesn't have holes and holds what is put in; table, their knees held together; bed, the ground; both, the river, or lake, which God gave unadorned to all. Their life is that of a vagabond and wild, not because it was that way from the beginning but because of misfortune and need...

Come to the help of these, you who fast. Become generous to the unfortunate brethren. That food which you abstained from give to the hungry. Let the just fear of God equalize all. Cure through your prudent temperance two passions which oppose each other--your desire for satiation and the hunger of your brother. That is what the doctors do--some they force to limit their food, and the portions of others they increase, so that by addition and subtraction the health of each may be restored. Heed this good admonition. Let the word open the doors of the rich. Let the counsel lead the poor man toward him who has... Let each be concerned for his neighbor. Let not another receive the treasure that is for you. Embrace the suffering like gold. Embrace the unfortunate as your own health, as the salvation of your wife, your children, your servants, and your entire house.

-- St. Gregory of Nyssa (d. 395), quoted in: Demetrios J. Constantelos, Byzantine Philanthropy and Social Welfare (2nd [Revised] edition), pp. 52-53

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #519 on: February 27, 2018, 07:21:49 PM »
By all these earthquakes and calamities, however, not a man of us was restrained from his evil ways, so that our country and our city remained without excuse. Because we had been preserved from the chastisement inflicted on others, and rumours from afar had not alarmed us, we were (presently) smitten with a stroke for which there was no healing. Let us recognise therefore the justice of God and say, "Righteous is the Lord, and very upright are His judgments;" for lo, in His longsuffering He was yet willing by means of signs and wonders to restrain us from our evil doings. In the month of the first Teshrin (October) of this year, on the 23rd, which was a Saturday, at the rising of the sun, his brightness was taken away from him, and his sphere of light appeared like silver. He had no perceptible rays, and our eyes could easily gaze upon him without hindrance, for he had neither rays nor beams to hinder them from looking upon him. Just as it is easy for us to look upon the moon, so we could look upon him. He continued thus till towards the eighth hour. The ground over which shone the little light that there was, seemed as if ashes or sulphur had been sprinkled upon it.

On this day another dreadful and terrible sign took place on the wall of the city. This city, which, because of the faith of its king and the righteousness of its inhabitants in days of old, was deemed worthy to receive a blessing from our Lord, was well nigh overwhelming its inhabitants at the present day, because of the multitude of their sins. For there was a breach in the wall from the south to the Great Gate; and some of the stones at this spot were scattered to no inconsiderable distance from it. By the order of our father the bishop Mar Peter, public prayers were offered, and every one besought mercy from God. He took all his clergy and all the members of religious orders, both men and women, and all the lay members of the holy Church, both rich and poor, men women and children, and they traversed all the streets of the city, carrying crosses, with psalms and hymns, clad in black garments of humiliation. All the convents too in our district kept up continual services with great diligence; and so, by the prayers of all the holy ones, the light of the sun was restored to its place, and we were a little cheered.

-- Joshua the Stylite  (d. 6th century), Chronicle, 36

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #520 on: February 28, 2018, 10:47:28 PM »
Alexandra was a beautiful young woman of the fourth century who fled the unwanted advances of a young man, left the city of Alexandria, and shut herself up in a mausoleum. She received food and supplies through a window from a woman friend. Alexandra maintained strict privacy through the remaining ten or twelve years of her life, keeping a curtain at her window so that no one ever saw her face to face again. Melania the Elder sought a visit with Alexandra. When Melania asked Alexandra how she persevered through the harsh conditions and the difficult inner journey, she replied:

"From early dawn to the ninth hour I weave linen, and recite the Psalms and pray; and during the rest of the day I commemorate in my heart the holy fathers, and I revolve in my thoughts the histories of all the Prophets and Apostles, and Martyrs; and during the remaining hours I work with my hands and eat my bread, and by means of these things I am comforted whilst I await the end of my life in good hope."

-- St. Alexandra of Alexandria (d. 4th century), The Forgotten Desert Mothers, pp. 71-72

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #521 on: March 01, 2018, 06:07:19 PM »
There is among the passions an anger of the intellect, and this anger is in accordance with nature. Without anger a man cannot attain purity: he has to feel angry with all that is sown in him by the enemy. When Job felt this anger he reviled his enemies, calling them "dishonorable men of no repute, lacking everything good, whom I would not consider fit to live with the dogs that guard my flocks" (Job 30:1, 4 LXX). He who wishes to acquire the anger that is in accordance with nature must uproot all self-will, until he establishes within himself the state natural to the intellect.

-- St. Isaiah the Solitary (d. 490), On Guarding the Intellect, 1

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #522 on: March 02, 2018, 01:35:42 AM »
Alexandra was a beautiful young woman of the fourth century who fled the unwanted advances of a young man, left the city of Alexandria, and shut herself up in a mausoleum. She received food and supplies through a window from a woman friend. Alexandra maintained strict privacy through the remaining ten or twelve years of her life, keeping a curtain at her window so that no one ever saw her face to face again. Melania the Elder sought a visit with Alexandra. When Melania asked Alexandra how she persevered through the harsh conditions and the difficult inner journey, she replied:

"From early dawn to the ninth hour I weave linen, and recite the Psalms and pray; and during the rest of the day I commemorate in my heart the holy fathers, and I revolve in my thoughts the histories of all the Prophets and Apostles, and Martyrs; and during the remaining hours I work with my hands and eat my bread, and by means of these things I am comforted whilst I await the end of my life in good hope."

-- St. Alexandra of Alexandria (d. 4th century), The Forgotten Desert Mothers, pp. 71-72

That looks like a really interesting book. Do you own it?
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #523 on: March 02, 2018, 01:43:46 AM »
Either my wife or I did, but I haven't had a copy in a long time. I remember being somewhat let down by it, but that was probably due to the crap place I was at at that time in my life.

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #524 on: March 02, 2018, 01:51:50 AM »
Either my wife or I did, but I haven't had a copy in a long time. I remember being somewhat let down by it, but that was probably due to the crap place I was at at that time in my life.

Ah, ok. Well, looks like it's only 15 bucks on Amazon. I might pick up a copy.

Sure beats that HtM book that was like 50 dollars (of course, it's obviously more thorough).
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #525 on: March 02, 2018, 02:05:58 AM »
Feel free to say what you think after reading it  :angel:

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #526 on: March 02, 2018, 03:42:08 AM »
Feel free to say what you think after reading it  :angel:

Will do. But I should have said, "will buy it next time I actually have cash." So, you might be waiting awhile lol.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #527 on: March 02, 2018, 06:57:04 PM »
But the present circumstances are forcing me to think differently about our way of life, for why are [so many] wars being fought among us? Why do barbarian raids abound? Why are the troops of the Saracens [Muslims] attacking us? Why has there been so much destruction and plunder? Why are there incessant outpourings of human blood? Why are the birds of the sky devouring human bodies? Why have churches been pulled down? Why is the cross mocked? Why is Christ, who is the dispenser of all good things and the provider of this joyousness of ours, blasphemed by pagan mouths so that he justly cries out to us: "Because of you my name is blasphemed among the pagans," and this is the worst of all the terrible things that are happening to us. That is why the vengeful and God-hating Saracens, the abomination of desolation clearly foretold to us by the prophets, overrun the places which are not allowed to them, plunder cities, devastate fields, burn down villages, set on fire the holy churches, overturn the sacred monasteries, oppose the Byzantine armies arrayed against them, and in fighting raise up the trophies [of war] and add victory to victory.

Moreover, they are raised up more and more against us and increase their blasphemy of Christ and the church, and utter wicked blasphemies against God. Those God-fighters boast of prevailing over all, assiduously and unrestrainably imitating their leader, who is the devil, and emulating his vanity because of which he has been expelled from heaven and been assigned to the gloomy shades. Yet these vile ones would not have accomplished this nor seized such a degree of power as to do and utter lawlessly all these things, unless we had first insulted the gift [of baptism] and first defiled the purification, and in this way grieved Christ, the giver of gifts, and prompted him to be angry with us, good though he is and though he takes no pleasure in evil, being the fount of kindness and not wishing to behold the ruin and destruction of men. We are ourselves, in truth, responsible for all these things and no word will be found for our defence. What word or place will be given us for our defence when we have taken all these gifts from him, befouled them and defiled everything with our vile actions?

-- St. Sophronius of Jerusalem (d. 638), Source

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #528 on: March 03, 2018, 10:28:16 PM »
That it is also necessary to keep laughter in check.

This too, although lightly regarded by many, merits no small vigilance on the part of ascetics. For to be overcome by unrestrained and unchecked laughter is a sign of intemperance, of a failure to steady the emotions and of a frivolity of the soul unchecked by strict reason. For while it is not unfitting to express the overflow of the soul to the extent of a cheerfule smile--if only as far as the Scripture shows: A glad heart makes a joyful face (Prov. 15:13)--yet for one who has steadied his soul, or is of proven virtue, or has command of himself it is unseemly to raise one's voice in cackling laughter (and a raucous din) and allow the body to shake uncontrollably. Yet when there is intemperance of soul, this will be sure to happen as a matter of habit, even unwillingly. This kind of laughter Ecclesiastes reproves especially (softening and) undermining (gravity and) constancy of soul, saying: Of laughter I have said it is madness (Eccl. 2:2) and, as the cackle of thorns under the cooking pot so is the laughter of fools (Eccl. 7:6), and Solomon, the most wise, confirms the word, saying The fool raises his voice in laughter, but the wise man will scarely smile quietly (Sir. 21:20)

The Lord, too, revealed that he experienced (in himself) the necessary passions of the flesh and those which tend to evidence of virtue, such as weariness on the one hand and compassion for the afflicted on the other. But he is never found to have used laughter as far as the GOspel narrative (touches on it), and indeed, deems unfortunate those who have succumbed to it (cf. Luke 6:25). Let not the ambiguity of 'laughter' deceive us, for it is often the custom of Scripture to call the joy of the soul and a cheerful response to good fortune 'laughter' as in: Sarah said, God has made laughter for me (Gen. 21:6) and again, Blessed are those who weep now for they shall laugh (cf. Luke 6:21) and there is the saying in Job: he shall fill a truthful mouth with laughter (Job 8:21). All these terms are used of exultation of soul rather than merriment.

This is why he who is superior to every passion and does not admit any goad of pleasure, but is disposed to be self-controlled and unyielding towards every harmful enjoyment, is (called) perfectly self-controlled--and such a one (thereby) is clearly quit of every (kind of) sin. Moreover, there are times when one should even abstain from things permissable and necessary for life, if such abstinence is ordered to the benefit of our brothers, as the Apostle says: If food causes my brother to stumble, I will never again eat meat (1 Cor. 8:13). And though he had a right to live from the Gospel, he did not use the right, in case there should be any obstacle to the Gospel of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 9:12)

Self-control then is a taking away of sin, a weaning from passions, a mortifying of the body (cf. Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5) with its natural passions and cravings (Gal. 5:24; it is the beginning of spiritual life, th sponsor of eternal blessings and extinguishes in itself the sting of pleasure. For pleasure is the great snare of (all) evil--by means of it we human beings are (all) especially drawn to sin; by it every soul is dragged to death as with a fish-hook; anyone not debilitated or overthrown by it, accomplishes the complete avoidance of sin through self-control.

-- St. Basil the Great (d. 379), The Longer Asketikon, 17

There are only tears subdued smiles in holy Pontus.

Note: the above material isn't all in the original text by St. Basil, but also includes the later additions to the text.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2018, 10:35:40 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #529 on: March 04, 2018, 06:00:27 PM »
Flee from the counsel of the deceiver, for he who apportions debt to the inexperienced is wont to cast his whole property for nothing to the loss of the merchants. He impoverished the treasures of great Adam, who with his money acquired a weight of debt. O Body, do not borrow from him that does not ask back what he has lent, that if thou pay him his silver the debt impoverishes.

-- St. Ephraim the Syrian (d. 373), Discourse on Virginity, 7-8

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #530 on: March 04, 2018, 07:03:15 PM »
Flee from the counsel of the deceiver, for he who apportions debt to the inexperienced is wont to cast his whole property for nothing to the loss of the merchants. He impoverished the treasures of great Adam, who with his money acquired a weight of debt. O Body, do not borrow from him that does not ask back what he has lent, that if thou pay him his silver the debt impoverishes.

-- St. Ephraim the Syrian (d. 373), Discourse on Virginity, 7-8

I don't get it. How does one "borrow" from Satan (I'm guessing that's who he means by "the deceiver")?
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #531 on: March 04, 2018, 07:24:20 PM »
I found the wording a bit confusing, but this is how I took it.  The previous passage spoke of those who decided to embrace virginity but then were unable to follow through in action, and ended up too ashamed to publicly admit their failure, yet were also too weak to resist sexual temptations, so they became trapped. So you should consider carefully what virtues you are capable of, and which ones would lead to harm if you pursued them.  I think part of his point is also something along the lines that when your bodily desires leads you into sin, these are not simple and unrelated lapses, but are cumulative, and "usurius" in the sense of costing you more than the the initial cost indicates, such that you can become so indebted that you become imprisoned in your ways (debtor's prison) or get sold into slavery until your debt (as a consequence of sins) is paid off with the currency of long-suffering virtue and repentance. So, better to not fall into the trap or debt to begin with.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2018, 07:27:49 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #532 on: March 04, 2018, 07:47:37 PM »
Ah, ok. That makes sense.

Thanks.
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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #533 on: March 05, 2018, 06:29:46 PM »
This afternoon I combed through the recent pages of this thread and the Pre-Modern Fathers thread (from 2.18.17 till now), mostly to get an idea of who I can quote without just repeating the same figures too often. Out of curiosity though I also kept track of how many quotes were by/about Latin-speaking Christians:

Early Church Fathers - 144 total quotes, 45 Latin (31%)
Pre-Modern Church Fathers - 105 total quotes, 27 Latin (26%)

A few things playing into the lower numbers: 1) Latin wasn't really used to any significant extent by Christian writers for the first couple centuries; 2) there are significantly more Greek writers given at places like CCEL and New Advent than there are Latin ones; and 3) I don't use a set-in-stone cut off for how late to go with Latin writers, but the further past the mid-11th century a writer gets the more unlikely I am to use a quote.

Still, I'd like to get the numbers closer to 40%.

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #534 on: March 05, 2018, 07:03:41 PM »
From this source, even at the very beginnings of the world, the devil was the first who both perished (himself) and destroyed (others). He who was sustained in angelic majesty, he who was accepted and beloved of God, when he beheld man made in the image of God, broke forth into jealousy with malevolent envy—not hurling down another by the instinct of his jealousy before he himself was first hurled down by jealousy, captive before he takes captive, ruined before he ruins others. While, at the instigation of jealousy, he robs man of the grace of immortality conferred, he himself has lost that which he had previously been. How great an evil is that, beloved brethren, whereby an angel fell, whereby that lofty and illustrious grandeur could be defrauded and overthrown, whereby he who deceived was himself deceived! Thenceforth envy rages on the earth, in that he who is about to perish by jealousy obeys the author of his ruin, imitating the devil in his jealousy; as it is written, "But through envy of the devil death entered into the world." (Wis. 2:24) Therefore they who are on his side imitate him.

-- St. Cyprian of Carthage (d. 258), Treatise 10: On Jealousy and Envy, 4
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 07:03:52 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #535 on: March 06, 2018, 10:19:38 PM »
But in this divine virtue, as we may call it, exhibited by these Confessors, we must note especially that the defense which they then undertook in appealing to the Ancient Church, was the defense, not of a part, but of the whole body. For it was not right that men of such eminence should uphold with so huge an effort the vague and conflicting notions of one or two men, or should exert themselves in the defense of some ill-advised combination of some petty province; but adhering to the decrees and definitions of the universal priesthood of Holy Church, the heirs of Apostolic and Catholic truth, they chose rather to deliver up themselves than to betray the faith of universality and antiquity.

-- St. Vincent of Lerins (d. c. 450), Commonitory, 5)

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #536 on: March 07, 2018, 11:15:09 PM »
Blessed Elezboi, Emperor of Ethiopia, lived during the time when Arabia was ruled by the oppressor of Christians, Dunaan. Pious Elezboi was unable to look on indifferently as believers in Christ were being massacred, and he declared war on Dunaan. But his military campaign was unsuccessful. Wanting to learn the reason for his defeat, Elezboi at the prompting from above turned to a certain hermit, who revealed to the emperor, that he had proceeded unrighteously in deciding to take revenge against Dunaan, since the Lord had said: "Vengeance is Mine, and I shalt mete it forth!" (Heb. 10: 30). The hermit counselled Blessed Elezboi to devote his final days of life to God, so as to flee the wrath of God for his self-willed revenge, and then to defeat Dunaan. Saint Elezboi made a vow to the Lord, and having set off with his army against the enemy, he defeated and captured and executed him. After the victory the saint resigned as emperor, secluded himself within a monastery and for 15 years he dwelt in strict fast and ascetic deeds.

-- St. Elezboi of Ethiopia (d. 553), Source

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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #537 on: March 08, 2018, 02:04:54 AM »
Blessed Elezboi, Emperor of Ethiopia, lived during the time when Arabia was ruled by the oppressor of Christians, Dunaan. Pious Elezboi was unable to look on indifferently as believers in Christ were being massacred, and he declared war on Dunaan. But his military campaign was unsuccessful. Wanting to learn the reason for his defeat, Elezboi at the prompting from above turned to a certain hermit, who revealed to the emperor, that he had proceeded unrighteously in deciding to take revenge against Dunaan, since the Lord had said: "Vengeance is Mine, and I shalt mete it forth!" (Heb. 10: 30). The hermit counselled Blessed Elezboi to devote his final days of life to God, so as to flee the wrath of God for his self-willed revenge, and then to defeat Dunaan. Saint Elezboi made a vow to the Lord, and having set off with his army against the enemy, he defeated and captured and executed him. After the victory the saint resigned as emperor, secluded himself within a monastery and for 15 years he dwelt in strict fast and ascetic deeds.

-- St. Elezboi of Ethiopia (d. 553), Source

I think I read somewhere that most Emperors and Empresses of Ethiopia actually ended their reigns by retiring to a monastery. It's an interesting dynamic.
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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #538 on: March 15, 2018, 03:43:42 AM »
Asteriktos, someone on FB mentioned that St. John Chrysostom once said that Christianity was the ultimate philosophy...but I can't find anything where he said such a bizarre thing. Do you know of a quote that might come close? Thanks.
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Re: Early Church Fathers
« Reply #539 on: March 15, 2018, 03:49:25 AM »
Asteriktos, someone on FB mentioned that St. John Chrysostom once said that Christianity was the ultimate philosophy...but I can't find anything where he said such a bizarrecharacteristic thing. Do you know of a quote that might come close? Thanks.
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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy